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You’re not a monk


A man’s car broke down as he was driving past a beautiful old monastery. He walked up the drive and knocked on the front door. A monk answered, listened to the man’s story and graciously invited him to spend the night.

The monks fed him and led him to a tiny chamber in which to sleep. The man slept serenely until he was awakened by a strange and beautiful sound. The next morning, as the monks were repairing his car, he asked about the sound that had woke him. “We’re sorry,” the monks said. “We can’t tell you about the sound. You’re not a monk.”

Disappointed, the man went on his way and pondered the source of the alluring sound for several years. One day he again stopped at the monastery and explained to the monks that he had so enjoyed his previous stay. So he wondered if he might be permitted to spend another night under their peaceful roof. Late that night, he again heard the strange, beautiful sound. The following morning he begged the monks to explain the sound but the monks gave him the same answer as before. “We’re sorry. We can’t tell you about the sound. You’re not a monk.”

By now the man’s curiosity had turned to obsession. He decided to give up everything to become a monk, for that was the only way he could learn about the sound. He informed the monks of his decision and began the long and arduous task of becoming one of them. Seventeen long years later, the man was finally established as a true member of the order. When the celebration ended, he humbly went to the leader of the order and asked to be told the source of the sound.

Silently, the old monk led the new monk to a huge wooden door. He opened the door with a golden key.

The door swung open to reveal a second door, this one of silver, then a third of gold and so on. Until they had passed through twelve doors, each more magnificent than the last. The new monk’s face was awash with tears of joy as he finally beheld the wondrous source of the beautiful and mysterious sound he had heard so many years before. But I can’t tell you what it was because you’re not a monk.

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